Arizona to host Pac-12 Championships for gymnastics

TUCSON, Ariz. - This weekend, the Arizona Gymcats will showcase their talents inside the gym.  All in uniform, it's what they do outside of the gym that sets them apart.  And for one Gymcat, it's personal.

“That was so cool. I want to be able to do something that will impact someone's life that much,” Danielle Spencer tells me. An Arizona junior, Danielle has a twin brother, James.  Who was diagnosed with severe epilepsy, and would suffer 25 seizures a day. Her sophomore year of high school, James had a procedure called split brain surgery.  “They say if the nerve endings haven't reconnected, he should be seizure free.”

And he has been, for the last 6-7 years, says Spencer.  And it was this surgery, and a story about prosthetics for amputees and veterans, that encouraged her to be a biomedical engineering major.

“I always wonder what my life would have been like had my brother not had he disabilities that he's had,” said Spencer.  Adding, “Gymnastics can only take you so far. This sport unfortunately does have an expiration date unlike most. So, you can't do it forever and you can't rely on it.”

And, she says her love of gymnastics helps keep it all in perspective to help with her journey ahead.  “It just really pushes me, like when I’m having a tough day… no, there's a reason you're doing this.  And you actually have the ability to, and the opportunity that most people don't have. And you really need to take advantage of that to make a difference.”

Her brother, James, will be on hand to watch his twin sister compete for one final time this season at home this weekend.

You can catch Arizona at the Pac 12 Championships Saturday at McKale center in the first session starting at 1 o’clock.

Print this article Back to Top